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scohen0300
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 209
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Tang Soo Do

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2022 9:29 pm    Post subject: Help, my mcdojo is driving me nuts! Reply with quote

Part of this might seem like Iím only venting, so I apologize in advance.

As I stated in earlier posts, I work for a mcdojo. The pros are that Iím teaching martial arts (for the most part) and that Iím getting paid a lot more than any other job Iíve had and probably more than what Iíd make if I left. My boss (the guy who put down the money to open the studio) and my coworker are also great people.

Today, I found out that I canít promote MY students to black belt unless they pay an additional $50/month. In fact, theyíll only ever achieve their purple belt if they donít our join the ďblack belt program.Ē When I asked, what if they canít afford it? The answer was, ďthey can continue training, but they wonít be able to rank up any further.Ē Then, I confirmed, if thatís the case - they will never get their black belt. I canít get behind this.

My hope, is that WHEN we are faced with a scenario where a hard working student canít afford the dang black belt program, that weíll be able to promote them anyway, without the need for them to pay a higher monthly rate. Unfortunately, I donít think thatís likely to happen.

How can I justify this? How can this franchise justify this? I grew up without money. If my Sensei (who would never do this) did this to me when I was younger, I would quit because I wouldnít be able to afford it and I wouldnít see a reason to keep training. I know, I know, belts donít mean very much in the grand scheme of things. But what about the children? Isnít this teaching them that regardless of how hard they work, theyíll never reach their goal unless they make enough money? Isnít this straight up blasphemy to the martial arts?

I havenít been able to stop thinking about this. I feel so conflicted. If, or more likely, when, the situation pops up that a student canít afford their black belt and thereís nothing I can do about that, my heart is going to shatter into a million pieces. That will be the day that I quit if Iím not fired for giving the student the belt that they EARNED, not the belt that they could afford.

What do I do?
What would you do?
Please, donít give me some mystical ďmiyagi advice.Ē Iím asking for some guidance.

On a side note, Iím teaching people how to kick, punch, parry, and cover block. Along with ďKrav MagaĒ that was taught to me over the course of 3 days, or no more than 9 hours. Other than that, Iíve never trained in Krav Maga a day in my life. 13 years of karate behind me and all I ever feel like now is a money driven, mcdojo running fraud.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29283
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2022 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's sounds to me like you've got a real moral dilemma here. On the one hand, even though you don't agree with the system, you like to teach and it sounds like you offer positivity to these students. On the other hand, you don't agree with the policy and procedures of the organization. Do you keep teaching or not?

Are you teaching in your own school, or are you teaching in the main school where the CI that implemented all this is? If you are in your own school, you might be able to get away with promoting your own students, but perhaps only once before getting into trouble. And who knows what kind of legal trouble you could get into, especially if there is breach of some kind of contract.

I wouldn't presume to tell you what to do. But it sounds to me like you should seek to find a different school. You could try to present a case to the CI to change his money-making strategy, but I doubt that will happen. Eventually, someone isn't going to be able to afford the fees that is deserving, and someone undeserving will be able to pay the fees and move forward. This won't sit well with you. I say, start looking for alternatives and move on.

I'm really sorry to hear this.
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tatsujin
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Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2022 10:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Help, my mcdojo is driving me nuts! Reply with quote

scohen0300 wrote:
How can this franchise justify this?


I am really NOT trying to be flip here, so please don't take it that way.

They can justify this because they are a business and they are in the business of making a profit. I have seen some of the craziest things in (and out of) the martial arts world. So, you always have to remember that they are there to make money...NOT to teach the martial arts. They make the money by teaching martial arts.

There is an old saying in the business world that there are things you can do and things you should do...and the inverse of that is true as well. This is one of those things that they can do, but shouldn't do. In my personal opinion, it makes them look like money grubbers. And, I am a die hard capitalist.

Do you have anyone close to being in the position of having to pay this additional monthly fee? If not, then you have time to work some "magic".

Also, if they pay this fee, what does the student get in return for it other than being able to get the rank? Extra training? One on one training? Special classes? Anything for the cost?

Lastly, do you have any sort of employment agreement that CLEARLY outlines what you can and cannot do? Meaning, if you had someone in that situation, would you get fired for testing them and promoting them on your own time outside of the school? The guy who owns the place may not like it, but...you still might get fired depending on what state you live in and how hard you wanted to press them legally.

This is one of the many, many reasons why I have never run a commercial school. The world, your school and your students all look very, very different when you don't have to view things from the perspective of money. You are not being asked to do anything illegal...just distasteful. You have to decide for yourself what you can and cannot live with. You do need to make a living. So, is this the hill that you want to die on?
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ashworth
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 659
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2022 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly a tough situation to be in, I'm afraid if your getting paid a decent amount for running a class you have to accept that there might be things you don't fully agree with.

If I was in that situation I would try find a different job, and try to find another club to join and hopefully teach for one day, the other option is setting up your own, but again you will probably need to find another job as you will probably not be making the money that you are on at the moment...
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crash
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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 132

Styles: karate,

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2022 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

back years ago in the 80's - 90's it was common for all gyms, martial arts studios, etc... to be by contract with financing. this is a business, for instructors to be paid, bills to be met, (rent is expensive in a desirable location) and a profit to be earned there has to be a set price for any business to make it. it wasnt un-common back then for any dojo to offer "programs" such as a bluebelt program and a blackbelt program, i havent seen this method in a while but it dousnt necessarily make a "mcdojo". sports, good gyms, personal training, etc... are expensive, not everyone is going to be able to afford them, sad, but that is the reality of the world. it is a business and in order for any business to operate properly there has to be a profit and a system of pricing and services. i personnaly would not charge for belt testings but a lot of places do. this is an expensive sport/hobby/training. there is a lot of equipment, uniforms, etc... to keep up with and then if you are into tournament's or the sport/competitive side of it there are the fees and travel for those. the bottom line though is what you are comfortable with. you know what your school offers, classes, training quality etc... and only you can decide is it worth it in your eyes and are you comfortable and happy in your position. if not then you must decide whether to stay or move on and start your own system/school in the way you would like.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15712
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2022 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I've read in your OP, you've already answered your own question of what you should do.

Some would say that this is a Catch-22 situation. I wholeheartedly disagree with that mindset because INTEGRITY should be the ruling order of the day...every day.

As a business, they don't have to justify anything...much...if it at all. What tatsujin's post speaks about in this regard is dead on. There's no integrity when the bottom line is concerned. All there is is the profit line, and businesses will do whatever they can to generate all of the profit that they can.

Oh sure, every business should have the highest integrity possible, but that's not how it is at all. Not sure if customers care about business integrity as strong as they do for the businesses pricing structure. Businesses that have kicked integrity to the curb sleep as well as those businesses who've not kicked integrity to the curb.

So, I'd find somewhere else to teach without haste whatsoever.

Customers make the difference with what they decide to allow or not allow.

Quote:
What do I do?
What would you do?

Kick that business to the curb. For cause. There's no way that I'd remain in their employment...for cause!!



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LionsDen
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Joined: 06 May 2022
Posts: 59


PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2022 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you suggested that many students may quit and this policy will likely result in a net loss of income over time?
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LionsDen
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2022 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also I gotta say, I was the martial arts program director for an athletic facility, and it was a mcdojo that they ran with the last guy, but I was lucky enough to have about 80% free reign to do as I pleased.

However they wanted testings done for everyone during regular class time, regardless of how long theyíve been training or how well theyíre progressing.
Luckily they donít charge extra for testing, but I thought this was a generally poor tactic as it made me feel pressured to pass people regardless, or have to deal with the loss of confidence resulting from the failure.

One option is that if you run into such a situation is you could discreetly discuss the issue with the student (if 18+) or their parent and offer to pay that extra $50.
Or approach the owner and ask about setting up a jar or something people added a few bucks to here and there that would be used to help pay for the BB program of under privileged students.

Thereís always options, sometimes you just need to think outside of the box to find them though.
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